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Integration policy in canton Zurich

With the recent series of riots and violence flaring up in some of the largest European capitals the subject of integration has become a top priority for the governments of the Old Continent.

In such times, Switzerland seems an example of a well conducted peaceful and democratic society, despite the fact that 22% of the population in the country are foreigners. According to a recent study by the Zurich Cantonal Office of Integration Affairs, the most common reason for immigration in Canton Zurich is employment not limited by quotas and families that join later.

From the 330,000 foreigners in Zurich (24% of the population in the canton in 2010) only 2.9% of the foreigners are unemployed (June 2011) and in 2010 7.7% immigrated for training and further education.

The most common nationalities in the canton are Germany (23%), Italy (14%) and Serbia, Montenegro and Portugal (7%). Behind them are countries like Turkey and Macedonia with 4%, Spain, Austria, Kosovo and Great Britain with 3 %. The fastest growing foreign community seems to be the German, whose growth is almost 92% since 2003.

Faced with such figures, the Swiss government is not wasting its time. In 2009 at the very beginning of its mandate, it has requested from each of the cantons in Switzerland a clear strategy for integration which objectives are to offer peaceful cohabitation and equal opportunities. To find out about the Zurich cantonal strategy I am meeting Mrs. Julia Morais, Cantonal Officer of Integration Affairs. Read the interview here.

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